"Hey, Justine," said Mary McConnell, "what happened to Dalia this morning? I saw her come in when I was on hall duty but she wasn't in my third period."
"The Doctor called her down to his office because she was wearing those damn leggings again. She was in one of her moods when she left my class, so I'm thinking she might have mouthed off to him and landed herself in ISS."
"Beth said that Dalia's mother came in this morning and showed her ass," said Linda Hammer. "I thought y'all knew. The pair of them think that Dalia's the only girl in the school who gets caught breaking dress code."
Justine took her meal out of the microwave and attempted to peel back the cover without burning her fingers on the steam. "That's the impression I got from Dalia," she said.
"That mother of hers is something else," said Mary.
"Honey, you don't know the half of it," Linda said. "Ask Gretchen what happened in her sixth grade class two years ago."
Gretchen waved her hand in the air dismissively. "I don't have time to tell you all of the stories. I'll say this for that woman-- she's come a long way. I went to high school with her, you know. She was rough. You name it, she tried it. She lost custody of Dalia for a while. The father's nowhere to be seen, of course, so Dalia had to go and live with her grandmother."
"I've met the grandmother," said Mary. "She goes to church with my cousin. They had a barbecue fundraiser about three months ago that was absolutely wonderful. I keep telling my pastor that we've got to get our acts together."
And with that, the conversation had steered away from Dalia and her troubles.